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Summary:

IBM’s WebSphere group re-implemented parts of a major sample application using a half dozen or so NetflixOSS tools.

Netflix OSS

Netflix, aside from delivering streaming video to consumers, also wants to provide open-source software — Netflix OSS — to tech vendors. Netflix, in its quest to fill gaps in Amazon Web Services has come up with more than a dozen tools — including the popular Chaos Monkey for testing web application resiliency  — that are now available on Github to any cloud provider. The goal is to help these third parties make their own cloud infrastructure more robust, flexible and glitch free.

And now Netflix OSS has got a pretty big fish on the line: IBM.

Andrew Spyker, IBM performance architect and strategist, previewed some of his group’s handiwork at a recent Netflix meet up. They used a bunch of the tools in Acme Air, a sample travel app designed to show off IBM’s cloud chops. Acme Air, has been around for a while as part of IBM’s Project iCap, which is meant to demonstrate how developers can build apps for multiple device types without worrying about what those devices are. But, according to a recent blog post “Acme Air goes to streaming movies,” Spyker said his group reworked much of the app using Netflix tools. He wrote that they reimplemented …

” … both the web application and authentication service using runtime technologies from Netflix OSS, specifically Karyon, Eureka, Hystrix, and Ribbon. By using these technologies we added more elastic scaling, better HA and increased performance and operational visibility. You can checkout both open source projects (the original and the NetflixOSS enabled version) and do a diff to see the changes required in the application.”

Karyon, is what Netflix calls the base container for applications and services built using the NetflixOSS ecosystem; Eureka is mid-tier load balancing; Hystrix controls interactions between myriad distributed services to nip cascading failures in the bud; and Ribbon is a Remote Procedure Call library.

IBM also used Netflix’ Asgard to scale up the web application, authorization and data tier, Stryker wrote.

Here is Spyker’s slide show:

I’ve requested comment from IBM and will update when it’s forthcoming, but it’s clear that the Netflix OSS effort resonated at least in IBM’s WebSphere middleware group. IBM fellow and WebSphere CTO Jerry Cuomo is the sponsor of this project.

Top Netflix technologists, including cloud architect Adrian Cockcroft , have let it be known that they love the scale and flexibility of AWS but would also love to have similarly massive cloud options from other vendors as well. Eucalyptus is adopting a ton of Netflix OSS capabilities. IBM has private, hybrid and public cloud services now and is building out more of those capabilities — it recently closed its acquisition of  SoftLayer to aid in that effort. IBM’s various clouds will compete with traditional rivals like HP and Microsoft but also AWS itself, which is aggressively courting the sort of corporate workloads that IBM has feasted on.

GigaOM PRO analyst Jo Maitland has a good take on the Netflix OSS game plan here. Ironically, in this Acme Air case, Netflix is now providing technology to one of its former tech providers. Before moving to AWS, Netflix used Oracle and IBM technology to run its business.

Screenshot of IBM's Acme Air sample app -- which gets a lot of help from Netflix OSS tools.

Screenshot of IBM’s Acme Air sample app — which gets a lot of help from Netflix OSS tools.

  1. Pity you can’t use on an open source platform

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